|West Virginia Environmental Council Action Alert
September 30, 2014 WVEC Alerts Archive
Breaking News – A proposed “Special Session” of the WV Legislature to roll back the timeline for SB 373 has, at least for the short term, been averted.
SB 373, the Above Ground Storage Tank (AST) bill, was passed in response to the Freedom Industries chemical leak which contaminated the drinking water of more than 300,000 West Virginians last January. This important piece of legislation passed both houses unanimously to overwhelming public support and was signed without delay by the Governor. Interim guidelines for inspection have been available through the WV Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) website for months.
In early September there were strong rumors around the Capitol that legislative leadership may be trying to delay implementation of SB 373 due to pressure from certain industries- especially from the oil and gas drilling companies and their lobbyists. The industry claimed that AST Inspections and certifications due January 1, 2014 were too onerous for timely compliance.
Governor Tomblin, sensing strong citizen resistance to tinkering with SB 373, wisely declined to call the legislature into special session- at least for now. Instead of calling a special session, the Governor and DEP proceeded with an alternative solution to address some tank owners’ concerns: a draft interpretive rule. An interpretive rule provides temporary guidance regarding an agency’s interpretations, policy or opinions on the law administered by it.
A full, statute required rule-making process is still on a parallel process. So now WVEC’s and other environmental lobbyists are scrambling to attend public hearings, develop public comments and otherwise effect compliance with SB 373. There should be no delay now.
This is one of the many reasons we need your continued financial support.
Keeping an eye on the implementation of SB 373 is just one of the important issues we will be addressing in 2015. We will also be working hard to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency. One of our most important roles is to “play defense” to stop bad industry bills which may further compromise and contaminate the water and air in our state.
This is where YOU come in. The West Virginia Environmental Council (E-Council) cannot function without your continued financial support. Since 1989 the E-Council has been your voice for the environment at the State Legislature. During that time, we have become an effective and respected advocate for clean water, clean air, public health, and for all those special places we hold so dear.
The 2015 Legislative Session convenes January 14th. We are bringing together a talented lobby team, but it takes real dollars to fund the effort. Your financial contributions are critical to our work this year in the legislature. Please consider a donation today.
Elise Keaton, Chair, Legislative Affairs Committee
WVHC/WVEC Fall Review Conference 2014: Cedar Lakes Conference Center- Ripley, WV (Jackson County), Friday October 17th through Sunday October 19th, 2014
Highlights of Conference: Keynote Speaker: Wendy Radcliff, Environmental Advocate; Conference theme: Climate, Water & Wilderness. Panels or presentations on Global Warning, Energy Efficiency, Water Quality Issues, 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act, Birthplace of Rivers National Monument campaign; Dominion Pipeline, Setting WVEC’s 2015 Legislative Priorities, Table Displays, Silent Auction (please bring auction items). Full schedule here. Early registration strongly encouraged! Register online or print and mail this form.